January 01, 2010

Battling Both the AIDS Gap Among Blacks and Budget Cuts

It's a tough situation in Oakland and other major cities where economic problems have resulted in cuts to funding for many public service progams, including those designed for prevention and treatment of AIDS.  Here's a report from the Bay Area Reporter:

With huge HIV/AIDS funding cuts and a continuing prevalence of the disease among African Americans, Oakland continues to battle HIV/AIDS as officials worry the disease could spread.

In 2007-08, the budget for education and prevention in Alameda County was $1.5 million. That included money from the state general fund.

Now, the general fund money is gone, leaving $661,000, which comes primarily from Ryan White Part B funds – federal money that's distributed by the state. That funding is only for education, prevention, counseling, and testing, according to Kabir Hypolite, director for Alameda County's Office of AIDS Administration.

The county's budget allocation from the state AIDS office for care and treatment services this year is $1,190,000, according to Hypolite.

He said the cost of providing care for someone with AIDS can be as much as 10 times as providing HIV care.

At the state policy level, "We are, in essence, gambling now with thousands of people's lives, and we may wind up paying a far, far greater price in the very near future if we don't restore these cuts," he said.
Click here to read the rest of the report.

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